Patchwork Prototyping a Collections Dashboard

Richard J. Urban, Michael Twidale

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


As aggregations of digitized cultural heritage materials grow larger, it becomes difficult to understand the size, scope and significant features of purpose-built collections. The dimensionless nature of digital libraries can make the already challenging task of "collections understanding" even more difficult. Emerging approaches to dynamic information visualization offer a way to provide users with a sense of the shape and contours of obscured features of digital collections. In this poster, we will demonstrate a novel design method called patchwork prototyping that we have used to elicit useful visualizations for cultural heritage collections. Traditional approaches to user-centered design have relied on opposite ends of an interaction spectrum. Lightweight, low-fidelity paper prototypes can evolve quickly and may be appropriate for use with novice users, but lack real functionality and/or interaction. High-fidelity prototypes may restore these features but custom programming and infrastructure requirements make them less agile. Patchwork prototyping fills this gap by using readily available open-source software and web services to create interactive prototypes that are easily modified in response to user design suggestions. Metadata from the IMLS Digital Collections and Content Project (IMLS DCC) is used as a test case for exploring the novel design problems of building a collection dashboard that complements traditional textual descriptions of collections.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2010
EventALISE 2010 - Boston, United States
Duration: Jan 12 2010Jan 15 2010


ConferenceALISE 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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